Texas A&M to Host South Carolina State
By Donovan Tennimon
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The Aggies should have little trouble disposing of FCS South Carolina State on Saturday.
The South Carolina State Bulldogs (1-2) will be in College Station this Saturday for a date with the Texas A&M Aggies (1-1). Fresh off their 48-3 dismantling of SMU, the Aggies will rely on the exciting play of quarterback Johnny Manziel to continue to improve. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are looking to bounce back after a 56-0 defeat at the hands of Arizona last weekend. This will be a game by two teams heading in entirely different directions.
South Carolina State is a Historically Black College (HBC) located in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The Bulldogs play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). They won at Georgia State 33-6 to open the season, and then lost 14-27 in their second game to Bethune-Cookman. After playing competitively in their first two games, the Bulldogs could not slow down Arizona’s offense last week. The Wildcats had 689 yards of total offense and quarterback Matt Scott had a very efficient evening throwing the ball. He completed 30-of-36 passes for 288 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. South Carolina State was outgained by Arizona by 535 yards.
The Bulldogs offense could not put together a consistent drive all game long. Junior quarterback Richard Cue completed less than 50% of his passes for 89 yards and had one interception. The good news for the Bulldogs is that Cue was sacked only once. This speaks to his mobility, which is something that will come in handy against defensive end Damontre Moore and the rest of the Aggies front seven. Moore had six tackles and two sacks last week against SMU. For what was viewed as a potential weakness to start the season, the Aggies' defensive front has played quite well. Even in their loss to Florida, the Gators could never establish a consistent rushing attack, and the quarterback was seemingly under pressure during every pass attempt.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has played above expectations this season. Through two games, he is the Aggies' leading rusher and passer. Most importantly, he has taken care of the football. Manziel has accounted for seven touchdowns and zero turnovers. That is very impressive for any quarterback, let alone a first year starter. While the coaching staff is pleased that the offense is taking care of the football, the Aggies hope the explosive plays on offense can continue.
Game within the Game: Do the Bulldogs stand a chance of even competing with the Aggies? If Arizona could blow out South Carolina State at home, then one would think Texas A&M could do the exact same thing. That is exactly what the Bulldogs are hoping for – they want to be over-looked by the bigger, stronger Aggies. Arkansas is on the horizon for next weekend, and the Aggies have got to be licking their lips after seeing the Hogs struggle the last two Saturdays. Could the Aggies be looking ahead? Texas A&M linebacker Jonathan Stewart said it best, “We can’t take them lightly at all and end up being one of the teams that everybody looks at around the nation as, ‘How did you lose to that team?’ We’re going to prepare as if this is any other opponent.”
Extra Points: The MEAC began competing as a football conference in 1971. South Carolina State was one of the seven founding members. Texas A&M has an enrollment of over 50,000 students, while South Carolina State has an enrollment of less than 5,000.